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View Full Version : Susan Bennerstrom Oil Pastel Master Class in WA state (Mar 23-25)


AnnieA
01-04-2007, 06:20 PM
Note: I posted this in the Oil Pastel forum, but then thought that some of those working in soft pastels might also be interested in expanding into oil pastel as a new media, or simply discovering Bennerstrom's work, which is gorgeous, so I'm posting it here too:

Susan Bennerstrom Oil Pastel Workshop in March
While browsing the web, I happened to run across information on this Oil Pastel Master Class offered by one of the few oil pastel artists that I know of whose work has achieved national attention, Susan Bennerstrom (there may be others, but I just don't know of them). The intermediate to advanced class is offered at La Conner Art Workshops, in Western Washington state, on March 23-25. The Skagit Valley, where La Conner is located, is an absolutely gorgeous place - some here may remember some of the photos I posted of my short trip there last September. It's reknown for the wonderful quality of the light there.

Here's a link to info on the workshop:
http://www.laconnerartworkshops.com/...nnerstrom.html (http://www.laconnerartworkshops.com/classes/bennerstrom.html)

I won't be able to attend myself - although I surely would love to - but I thought perhaps it might interest someone else here in this forum. An oil pastel workshop seems pretty rare.

Bennerstrom is a bit more edgy, I think, than the typical WC poster, but her work is really fascinating, so it's worth looking at, imo, even for those who aren't necessarily interested in the workshop. It's always interesting to see the range of possibilities that working with oil pastel can offer.

Here's a link to a gallery where you can see Bennerstrom's work online:
http://www.davidsongalleries.com/art...nnerstrom.html (http://www.davidsongalleries.com/artists/bennerstrom/bennerstrom.html)

It's interesting to note that the surface she uses for some of her work is mylar! I tried using mylar myself a while ago, in a failed oil pastel monotype experiment. Mylar is a thin translucent plastic sheet material, with a sort of frosted surface, but slick enough that it was difficult for me to get the oil pastel to stick. It would be interesting to know how Bennerstrom uses it.

Disclaimer: I'm posting this for info purposes only. I don't have a financial interest in either Bennerstrom's work or the La Conner workshops. (Although maybe I should call up the La Conner Chamber of Commerce and make a pitch for some sort of compensation! :lol: I always rave about how beautiful it is there!)

PeggyB
01-04-2007, 09:00 PM
Many years ago I took Susan's soft pastel workshop, and found her technique in that medium quite different from the usual methods so it doesn't surprise me that she'd be using something different as a support of oil pastels too. She is a very popular instructor in the northwest area of Washington. The class I took was informative and fun, but very crowded with students. She has a faithful following so getting a word or question in edgewise wasn't easy, but if you are presistent she is good about giving her full attention to you when she is at your side.

Annie is right - it is beautiful in the Skagit Valley where La Conner is located! :)

Peggy

AnnieA
01-05-2007, 03:47 PM
Peggy: sounds like you weren't entirely satisfied with the workshop you attended, due to the size of the class. I wonder if there are class size restrictions at the La Conner Workshops. (I would hope so - it would be worth checking on for anyone interested in the class.) It wouldn't surprise me if the size was limited - perhaps your experience wasn't representative.

Even if one doesn't take the Bennerstrom workshop, I hope people will take the time to visit the Davidson gallery link (in my first post) to see what she's doing. Her work is really quite exceptional. I think people frequently underestimate the capabilities of oil pastel, and her work (and her reputation) provides a great example of the remarkable range of what can be done with the medium.

PeggyB
01-05-2007, 06:27 PM
Peggy: sounds like you weren't entirely satisfied with the workshop you attended, due to the size of the class. I wonder if there are class size restrictions at the La Conner Workshops. (I would hope so - it would be worth checking on for anyone interested in the class.) It wouldn't surprise me if the size was limited - perhaps your experience wasn't representative.

Even if one doesn't take the Bennerstrom workshop, I hope people will take the time to visit the Davidson gallery link (in my first post) to see what she's doing. Her work is really quite exceptional. I think people frequently underestimate the capabilities of oil pastel, and her work (and her reputation) provides a great example of the remarkable range of what can be done with the medium.

Oh my goodness! I hope others didn't read my comments as you did. I totally enjoyed the workshop even though the class size wasn't to anyone's advantage. Susan is very engaging and fun, and you already pointed out her work is really lovely despite being "non-traditional" techniques for pastels - well dry pastels anyway. I don't know her techniques for oil pastels. Her knowledge of color and color theory is very good and key to how her paintings work - everything is finger blended in her method she was teaching then - yes Bluefish, finger blending and very good at it too! Her crushed diamonds work very well. :lol: Susan encourages her students to experiment, and she has exercises that help one to do so. I'd recommend her classes to anyone.

La Conner Workshops was owned by someone else when I took the classes. Now Dakota Pastel Art owns the La Conner Workshops name, and I think they do limit the class size to one that is agreeable for everyone.

Peggy